China and Huawei are once again in the crosshairs of US officials, after it was reported that the Trump administration is to meet later this month.
According to Reuters, which cited two sources, the meeting scheduled for 28 February will seek to resolve differences within the US government over a possible crackdown on China and Huawei.
Essentially, the meeting will discuss further curbing technology exports to China and its flagship telecoms company Huawei.
The meeting will reportedly involve high-level officials, and comes after the US Commerce Department withdrew a rule that would have placed additional trade restrictions on Huawei, amidst opposition from the US Department of Defence and the US Treasury.
The meeting is reportedly expected to include cabinet-level officials including Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo.
The meeting aims to find the best approach for dealing with Huawei and the broader confrontation with China over technological dominance, Reuters stated.
It reported that some US officials favour close trade ties with Beijing, while others see China and Huawei as a national security threat.
“The administration has to decide how to match its rhetoric on China with policies to deny China key technology and industry,” Tim Morrison, a former senior director at the White House’s National Security Council under President Donald Trump, reportedly said.
He favours tougher rules.
“Too many tools have not been brought to the President because the entire administration isn’t yet in the fight. That must end,” he was quoted as saying.
American companies have argued against restrictions with China and Huawei. In September last year, Microsoft President Brad Smith said the United States should end its blacklisting of Huawei.
Huawei was placed on a trade blacklist by the United States back in May 2019, after an executive order by President Donald Trump that declared a national security emergency against Chinese firms.
And almost immediately after the President’s executive order, the US Commerce Department added Huawei and 70 affiliates to its so-called Entity List, which banned them from buying parts and components from US companies without US government approval.
That decision made it difficult, if not impossible, for Huawei, to sell some products because of its reliance on US suppliers for essential silicon and other components.
Just days later however the US Commerce Department announced a 90-day delay to the imposition of trade restrictions on Huawei.
And US trade with China and Huawei is still possible as the US has granted extensions to its reprieve that allows American firms to trade with China’s Huawei.
In November for example, the US granted its third such 90-day extension.
It remains to be seen whether the US will grant a fourth such reprieve.
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